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  2. The court does not exclude Karelian journalist Sergei Markelov from the foreign agents' register

The court does not exclude Karelian journalist Sergei Markelov from the foreign agents' register

Ekaterina Lobanovskaya
Sergei Markelov
Photo by Kirill Shane
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The Moscow City Court has upheld including journalist Sergei Markelov* from Karelia into the register of foreign agents. Markelov told Novaya Gazeta about this.

The journalist pointed out in the appeal that the first-instance court had violated the principle of equality of arms. According to Sergei Markelov*, there is no evidence in the case that he was involved in political activities. In addition, there is no documentary evidence of him receiving money from abroad.

Despite this, the decision of the Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow states that these facts have been proven. The court, according to the journalist, has not provided written evidence that he is a foreign agent. As a result, the Moscow City Court refused to review Markelov's case.

In the end of 2020, the Ministry of Justice labeled individuals as foreign agent media for the first time. The register of foreign agents included 7x7's string correspondent Sergei Markelov* from Karelia, editor-in-chief of Pskovskaya Guberniya Denis Kamalyagin*, human rights advocate Lev Ponomaryov*, journalist of Radio Svoboda and MBKh Media Lyudmila Savitskaya*, and performance artist Daria Apakhonchich*.

In 2021, the Vazhnye Istorii* (‘Important Stories’), Meduza*, The Insider*, Mediazona*, VTimes* media outlets, TV Rain*, the OVD-Info Media Project*, the Golos (‘voice, vote’) Organization have also been labeled by the Ministry of Justice. Employees and managers of the listed media and human rights projects have widened the register.

The Syndicate-100 Association of Independent Russian Media released a statement in July. The association’s representatives believed that journalists were being "completely deprived" from their right to change Russia's reality. On August 27, journalists of independent media published an appeal to the Russian authorities, in which they demanded abandoning the practice of applying the law on foreign agents and reviewing criminal and administrative cases against their colleagues. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to the journalists' statement by calling it "quite emotional."

On September 14, journalists demanded again that the state repeal the law on foreign agents. More than 150 media outlets, not-for-profit organizations, civic and educational projects have signed this appeal. The journalists filed the statement with the State Duma, the Federation Council and the human-rights ombudsman. A petition for the repeal of the law on foreign agents was launched on the Internet. More than 240 thousand people have signed it.


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